Senate OKs bill to curb red tape in applying, running businesses in PH
The Senate has unanimously approved on third and final reading on Tuesday a bill seeking to curb red tape in the process of starting and operating businesses in the country.
Seventeen senators voted to approve Senate Bill No. 1311 or the “Expanded Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA) of 2017,” an amendment to the existing Anti Red Tape Act of 2007 or Republic Act 9485.
“This landmark legislation is our answer to the clamor of the business sector and government agencies to ease doing business in the country, to make our country competitive and compliant with sound global business practices and standards,” Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, chair of the Senate committee on trade, commerce and entrepreneurship and also the sponsor of the bill, said in a statement.
The measure was co-sponsored by Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, and co-authored by Senators Panfilo Lacson and Joel Villanueva, both principal authors of the old law.
“The bill was meant to reduce red tape or promote transparency in government with regard to business registrations and other manner of transacting with the public,” Zubiri said.
“In approving the bill, the Senate immediately responded to the call of President (Rodrigo) Duterte during his last State of the Nation Address (Sona)—to cut red tape in government,” he added.
Under the bill, processing of business applications by national or local government agencies should not be longer than three working days for simple transactions, and seven working days for complex transactions.
If the office failed to act on the application for license, clearance or permit after the prescribed processing period had lapsed, then the application “shall be deemed approved.”
“To further prevent inaction and corruption in government agencies, we made the penalties stiffer for violators of the law,” Zubiri said.
The measure also mandated the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to establish a cloud-native Central Business Portal that would receive the application and capture application data from business entities nationwide.
The bill would also rename the existing Competitiveness Bureau under the Department of Trade and Industry to Business Anti-Red Tape and Competitiveness Bureau, which is tasked to complement the functions of the Civil Service Commission in implementing the Expanded ARTA.
“These reforms will introduce more economic activities that will increase opportunities and incomes of business firms, all types of entrepreneurs and their employees,” said Zubiri. JPV
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